I can’t take it anymore.   

I don’t want to live like this.   

I give up.  

We hear these words all the time from food addicts. Yet, many who say them go right back to bingeing. Others spend time thinking about the idea that they are powerless over their addiction then decide since that’s true, they may as well continue bingeing.

While food addicts are powerless over their addiction, they are not helpless. There’s an important difference between the two. Being helpless means being weak, dependent, and having no strength. Powerlessness in recovery, on the other hand, means that no matter how hard a food addict tries, no amount of self-control will change the fact that eating certain food substances cause a biological reaction in their bodies, which creates physical cravings for certain foods.

A helpless person has no hope while a powerless person can take steps towards recovery and find more hope than that person ever imagined. In the same way that someone with a cold experiences certain physical symptoms that they have no control over without the proper treatment, a food addict cannot control the physiological reaction that takes place once addictive substances are eaten.

In both cases, there are things that can be done to make living with each condition more manageable. For the cold, there are medical solutions that can lessen congestion and fever. For food addiction, there are professional and Twelve-Step programs to help stop bingeing. Both are a matter of biology that cannot be changed without help.

Recovery from food addiction begins with understanding that it is possible to have a different and better life once you know how to manage the physical symptoms.